Tuesday, 23 February 2021
Title: The Tongue of the Wise
By: Cecilia Tan 陈俊芳

Matthew 12:36-37. “I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”

Once upon a time, there was a young man who had a difference of opinion with his pastor and started spreading ugly rumours about him to the other villagers. Eventually he fell ill and asked the pastor to pray for him. The pastor came speedily and the young man asked for his forgiveness for slandering him.

The pastor offered to forgive him on condition that when he got well, he would do what the pastor requested of him. So when he recovered, he looked for the pastor who gave him this instruction: “Take a feather pillow, cut it up, go to the village marketplace and scatter the feathers to the wind. After that, come and see me.”

The young man quickly did as the pastor instructed and then went to the pastor, asking “Am I now forgiven?” The pastor replied, “Just one more thing – go now and gather up all the feathers.” The puzzled young man retorted, “That’s impossible – the wind has already scattered them!” The pastor wisely replied, “So it is with your words! I gladly forgive you, but always remember that just as it is impossible to recover the feathers, so also it is impossible to take your words back. The damage has already been done!”

Words once spoken, take a life of their own and can never be recalled. It is worse if the words have been distorted. Which is why, early in Exodus 23:1, God commanded the Israelites thus: “You shall not spread a false report. You shall not join hands with a wicked man to be a malicious witness.” We are not to engage in false reports, rumours, slander or gossip. The tongue is prone to produce or pass on thoughtless and untrue comments about others which may lead to damaged reputations, breakdown of relationships, quarrels, fights and even legal suits.

Slanderous speech displeases God as it sows discord and strife. One who slanders is described as a fool in Proverbs 18:7 “A fool’s mouth is his ruin, and his lips are a snare to his soul.” Hence when we slander someone, we are actually endangering our own soul. An easy cure to this evil streak would be to keep our mouths shut! But this calls for tremendous self-discipline!

Grumbling is another sin abhorrent to God. One of Israel’s greatest sins while in the wilderness was that of complaining and murmuring. God had led Israel out of slavery in Egypt and promised them a land flowing with milk and honey. Yet when things got tough, they complained and lamented that they wished they had never left Egypt! They
grumbled about the bitter water, about being hungry, about being thirsty, about not having meat to eat, about Moses, about Aaron… and about almost everything else! Such ingratitude, discontent and rebellion provoked God’s wrath so much so that He sent a plague among them and 14,700 of them perished in Korah’s rebellion (Numbers 16:49).

So we should eliminate slandering, speaking untruths, gossiping and grumbling. How then can we glorify God with our mouth? We should adhere to Apostle Paul’s exhortation in Ephesians 4:29 “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”

In these troubled pandemic times, more than ever before, we ought to speak words of hope and encouragement that will strengthen faith and dispel fears. Words impact people for better or for worse. Kind words can build a person’s self-esteem and give people the impetus they need to live meaningfully and do great and significant things with their lives. Conversely, direct insults and hurtful words can cause harm that sometimes lasts a lifetime and tear the self-esteem right out of a person, setting him on the path of hopelessness, desolation and ruin.

Let’s seek to use words that bless and not curse, comfort and not distress, heal and not make sick…words that build and not destroy. Since death and life are in the power of the tongue, we ought to choose our words well. For words can turn failure into success, despair into hope, sadness into joy, defeat into victory and hatred into love!

May this warning from our Lord Jesus in Matthew 12:36-37 steer us to open our mouths with the utmost care, “I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”

May our words dispel fear and bring comfort, hope, strength and healing to many during these worrisome times, according to what is taught in Proverbs 12:18 “The words of the reckless pierce like swords, but THE TONGUE OF THE WISE brings healing.”

Prayer:

Our Heavenly Father, we seek Your forgiveness for our untamed tongues that are so often full of deadly poison. Set a guard, O Lord, over our mouths, and keep watch over the door of our lips. Instead of using words that harm others, help us to edify, encourage, inspire and uplift one another. Tame our tongues, Lord , and enable us to use our tongues wisely. We pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.

每日灵粮
星期二,2021年2月23日
标题:智慧人的舌头
作者:陈俊芳姐妹
翻译:陈晓佩姐妹

从前,有一位年轻人和他的牧师意见不合,便开始向其他村民散播关于牧师的不堪入耳的谣言。后来他病倒了,请求牧师为他祷告。牧师迅速地来到,年轻人因诽谤他而请求原谅。

牧师愿意原谅他,条件是当他痊愈后,他会按牧师的要求去做。当他康复后,他找到了牧师,牧师给了他这个指示:“拿一个羽毛枕头,把它剪开,去到村的市集将羽毛撒向风中。之后,再来见我。”

年轻人立刻就照牧师的指示去做了,然后去见牧师,问道:“我现在被原谅了吗?” 牧师回答说:“还有一件事 – 现在去把所有的羽毛收集起来。” 感到困惑的年轻人反驳说:“那是不可能的 – 风已经把它们吹散了!” 牧师机智地回答说:“你的话也是如此!我很乐意原谅你,但要永远记住,就像不可能收回羽毛一样,说出去的话也不可能收回。破坏已经造成了!”

话一旦说出口,就会不受控制,永远无法挽回了。如果言辞被扭曲了就更糟了。这就是为什么早在出埃及记23:1,上帝命令以色列人:“不可随伙布散谣言;不可与恶人连手妄作见证。” 我们不应该参与散播假消息、谣言、诽谤或流言蜚语。舌头容易产生或传递对他人的轻率和不真实的评论,这可能会导致他人名誉受损、关系破裂、争吵、斗争,甚至法律诉讼。

诽谤性的言论不讨上帝的喜悦,因为它挑拨不和和纷争。造谣者在箴言18:7被形容为愚昧人,“愚昧人的口自取败坏;他的嘴是他生命的网罗。” 因此,当我们诽谤某人时,我们其实是在危害自己的心灵。治愈这邪毒倾向的一个简单方法就是闭上我们的嘴巴!但这需要极大的自律!

抱怨是另一个让上帝憎恶的罪。以色列人在旷野时最大的罪过之一就是发牢骚和喃喃诉苦。上帝带领以色列脱离了埃及的奴役,并应许赐他们一块流奶与蜜之地。但是,当情况变得艰难时,他们发怨言并哀叹说,他们希望自己从未离开埃及!他们抱怨苦水、抱怨饥饿、口渴,抱怨没有肉吃、抱怨摩西、抱怨亚伦……还有几乎所有其他的东西!这种忘恩负义、不满和叛逆惹起了上帝极大的忿怒,以至于祂在百姓中降下瘟疫;除了因可拉的叛逆而死的,遭瘟疫死的共有14,700人。(民数记16:49)。

因此,我们应该除去诽谤、说谎、流言蜚语和抱怨。那么,我们如何用我们的口荣耀上帝呢?我们应该遵循使徒保罗在以弗所书4:29的劝诫:“污秽的言语一句不可出口,只要随事说造就人的好话,叫听见的人得益处。”

在这困难的疫情时期,我们比以往任何时候都更应该说带有盼望和鼓励的话,以坚固信心和驱散恐惧。语言可以带给人或好或坏的影响。善意的话语可以建立一个人的自尊,给人所需的动力去过有意义的生活,并在一生中做伟大且重要的事情。反之,直接的侮辱和伤人的言语会造成伤害,有时会持续一生,并撕破一个人的自尊,把他带到绝望、孤寂和毁灭的道路上。

让我们追求运用言语来祝福而不是咒诅、安慰而不是使人苦恼、医治而不是使人得病……建立而不是毁灭的言语。既然生死在舌头的能力,我们应该谨慎择言。因为言语可以把失败转为成功、绝望转为盼望、悲伤转为喜乐,挫败转为得胜,以及把仇恨转为爱!

愿我们的主耶稣在马太福音12:36-37里的这个警告引导我们极其谨慎地开口说话:“我又告诉你们,凡人所说的闲话,当审判的日子,必要句句供出来。因为要凭你的话定你为义,也要凭你的话定你有罪。”

愿我们的言语驱散恐惧,在这令人担忧的时期给多人带来安慰、盼望、力量和医治,正如箴言12:18所教导的:“说话浮躁的,如刀刺人;智慧人的舌头 却为医人的良药。”

祈祷:

我们天上的父,为我们不被制伏的舌头并常充满致死的毒药,我们寻求祢的赦免。主啊,求祢防守我们的口,监管我们嘴唇的门;帮助我们不使用语言去伤害他人,而是彼此启迪、鼓励、激发和提升。求祢制伏我们的舌头,主啊,使我们能明智地运用我们的舌头。我们奉耶稣的名祈祷。阿们。